Proper attire will keep you running all winter!

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Hi Everybody!

Thanks for checking out my second blog where I am joined by Cori and Maddie for a discussion on the winter apparel that we prefer to help us get up, get out, and have fun!

 

 

As you can see from the video, it’s never too cold to workout outside, you are just inappropriately dressed! It’s easy to use the cold and dark as an excuse, believe me I have a tough time getting my butt out of bed, but winter can be an awesome time to get outside and enjoy fresh crisp air! 

Like Cori talks about, layers are key. Wicking material is better than cotton, and helps ensure your muscles stay warm throughout the workout. We’ve all had that cold chill feeling, so plan to get right to the shower or have a change of clothes after a winter workout. 

As Maddie brings up, safety is paramount all the time but especially in the darkness of winter. Reflective gear, headlamps, and blinking lighted vests may not be fashionable, but they will keep you safe. In the header photo you can clearly see Cori and Madison, but to an oncoming vehicle I’m blending into the darkness. Always remember- Safety is Sexy! 

As you can see, there is no weather cold enough or dark enough to stop us from enjoying mother nature and our local community. Whether you are joining the local running groups, November Project, or enjoying a solo adventure grab your layers and lights and HAVE SOME FUN OUT THERE! 

– Dr. Liz

Which yoga class should I be going to?

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There are so many varieties of yoga, and depending on your level of fitness/yoga experience/injury it might be a little challenging to sort out which is best for you. Let’s begin with an overview of the types you’ll most likely run into at your local yoga studios.

Vinyasa

This type of yoga is characterized by moving from one posture to the next in an always changing sequence, using the breath to flow through the poses. Inhalations are usually linked to upwards postures and exhalations to downward postures or twists. Vinyasa classes are frequently based on a series of movements called sun salutations. Power yoga is a type of vinyasa that moves quite quickly, often in a heated room. Ashtanga is technically another type of vinyasa, characterized by a vigorous series of challenging set movements. I’d recommend a vinyasa or ashtanga class to those who have a some yoga experience, are in good health and are looking for a dynamic rigorous class.

Hatha yoga

Hatha is a general category that includes most yoga styles. It is an old system that includes the practice of asanas (yoga postures) and pranayama (breathing exercises), which help bring peace to the mind and body, preparing the body for deeper spiritual practices such as meditation. Today, the term hatha is used in such a broad way that it is difficult to know what a particular hatha class will be like. In most cases, however, it will be relatively gentle, slow and great for beginners or students who prefer a more relaxed style where they hold poses longer. It can vary a lot, so it’s a good idea to call the studio before attending the class.

Bikram

Bikram yoga will always be the same, no matter where you go. It’s a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing techniques. Class is held in a room heated to 105 degrees with 40% humidity. This form of yoga is meant to flush out toxins and allow students to move deeply into poses. You’ll sweat as the class is both physically and mentally challenging. Recommended for those who are in good health and can tolerate exercise in a hot environment.

Yin yoga

Yin Yoga is a slower-paced, more meditative version of the popular physical and spiritual discipline of yoga. In Yin yoga, the poses are held for a long period of time (typically three to five minutes or longer) to target the connective tissues rather than focusing on the muscles. As a result, the asanas are more passive holds, with little muscular engagement. The yin poses are performed while seated or in a reclining position. The goal is to move into a deep stretch slightly outside of your comfort zone. This is a good class to attend if you’re looking to improve your flexibility and are relatively healthy. It may not be the best class if you have a current injury or recent history of injury as the poses may put some stress on areas of the body that are compromised.

Restorative yoga

Restorative yoga is a bit different than yin yoga. This style will typically include 5 or 6 poses per class, performed on both sides of the body. Similar to yin yoga, the poses are held for a longer period of time and lots of props including pillows, bolsters, blocks, straps and blankets are used to ensure the postures are comfortable and pain free. The hold times are usually 5 to 10 minutes but may go up to 20 minutes. The idea is to get as comfortable in the pose with props as possible to be able to hold the entire time. There are few contraindications for performing restorative yoga, and so it’s recommended for beginners and those with injuries. Also recommended for anyone trying to recover from other sports/exercise as part of a balanced wellness routine.

 

In conclusion, I’d recommend checking in with your instructor if you have any injury or history of injury that may flare up during your practice so modifications can be made as necessary. If you’re a beginner, start with a hatha class or any class listed as slow flow, beginner friendly or all levels. Another option for beginners or those who prefer to practice in their own homes is online videos. This way you can take the class at your own pace and practice the poses prior to attending a class. I like www.doyogawithme.com as you can choose your class based on level of experience/yoga type/length of class etc. Call ahead to the studio if you feel like you need to check in regarding the level of instruction in a class. During some classes an instructor will demonstrate all moves and in some the instructor will only verbally call out cues. Always steer clear of pain with yoga as it’s an indicator that you’re pushing too hard. Also, try not to get competitive in your classes! Pay attention to your body and what’s appropriate for you instead of trying a headstand because the person next to you can do it.

– Dr. Kim

3 Best Stretches for Hockey Players

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Have you ever tried to maximize the amount of time you have available to stretch by figuring out the most beneficial stretches? Have you felt like even finding time to stretch was daunting and challenging enough? Most people would say yes. I know I’ve had that thought time and time again. What I’m hoping you’ll get out of this blog is that stretching can be easy and prioritizing even 5-10 minutes after exercising can make a big difference.

Here are my 3 favorite stretches for hockey players!

  1. Kneeling Hip Flexor

Static Stretch – 30 second holds (repeat on both sides)

  1. Glute Stretch

Static Stretch – 30 second holds (repeat on both sides)

  1. Sidelying Thoracic Rotation

Dynamic Stretch – 15 repetitions (repeat both sides)

Next time you’re playing hockey, I encourage you to give these 3 stretches after and see how you feel. Hockey utilizes your glute muscles to generate power through lower body rotation and need to be prioritized to stretch following an exercise. Tight hip flexors are one of the primary reasons individuals today begin getting low back pain. By stretching them after activity, you’ll increase hip flexor extensibility and promote a more posterior pelvic tilt posture to minimize strain on the lumbar spine. Lastly, thoracic rotation is a necessity for shooting and skating while on the ice. Increased thoracic (mid-back) rotation can decrease common compensations that occur at different muscle groups and allow you to ultimately increase power and control in your game. Promoting good recovery will help limit muscle soreness and have you ready to get back on the ice faster. Not to mention the increased muscle extensibility will make day to day activities easier, not just hockey!

– Dr. Nate

Powered by Community

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Hi everyone! Dr. Liz here- thanks for tuning in to my very first blog. True story- I’ve never written a blog so the fact that you’re still reading right now is pretty cool. I’m the newest PT on the NPT HealthWorks team, and joined in sept of 2018. Over the course of my blogs, you’ll not only get to know me better but also hear about some of my passions including running, community engagement, and being active! Hope you enjoy 🙂

How did I get here…an indoor athlete thriving in Newport’s outdoor athletic community?

My entire life I was an indoor athlete. I relished the AC of the cool basketball gym, and enjoyed the beauty of a toasty ballet room. Now, I’m that crazy person out there in fleece lined tights, flashing safety vests, neck warmers and alllll the layers. How did I get here? It didn’t happen overnight, but in the past 15 months living in this beautiful place, my wife and I have switched gears from college basketball to distance running and we have this wonderful community to blame. 

We are fortunate to have met our closest friends through running, between the store run at Run Newport on Tuesdays to the well-known Run & Chug group on Thursdays and November Project on Wednesday mornings at the beach. The texts go out, and the social pressure pulls us to our sense of community and friendship and the shared love of one sport… running.

Maybe it fills the void that we lost after we graduated from competitive college sports? For me, it has become a passion and something I look forward to every single day. It is free, it allows for exploring new places, and it brings you into a network of people with like-minded goals. We have borderline elite runners, recreational runners, and new runners  who are brought together to push themselves in whatever way that means to them. The paces and times may be different between us, but running has taught us all that we can do HARD things and that we are capable of more than we think, especially when we are out there exploring together.

Are you looking to try something new? Find a community and go for it!

– Dr. Liz

We’re Moving To Slow Down: Moving Mediation

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Slowing down, more-so slowing my mind down, can be a challenge for me. So what about formal meditation? To sit still, to listen to my breath, & to get through the thoughts that occupy my brain – NOT an easy task. I’m a born-and-raised New Englander, which means my go-to pace is more brisk. Here in the North East, we move. So, when it comes to rested meditation, you could say – I’ve never been able to welcome it fully. I procrastinate, put it off, or completely avoid it – for I want to escape the frustration of “not doing it right”, or over-thinking my way through it. The solution, however, is not avoidance (in most cases), but seeking a way that suites my personality, and pace. A client once chatted with me about using the daily “walkitate” process. I thought, could this “moving meditation” help me slow my roll, and infuse my life with more mindfulness? I wanted to find out.

How does it work? Well, just as in a sitting meditation, where your attention might be on your breath or repeating a mantra – In a moving meditation, you place your attention on the sensation of your body. The air against your skin, your foot touching the ground with each step, the sound your movement creates, the feeling and textures underneath you. You get the drift.

When you first start out, it’s recommended that you walk a little slower than usual, so you can really feel your feet with every step. In moving meditation, the idea is NOT that you’re going to have absolutely no thoughts – What you’re actually doing is cultivating your ability to recognize that you don’t have to buy into everything that comes up. Part of the experience is recognizing that your mind will stray, so when it does, you bring it very gently with precision back to the feeling of your body in  real space & time. Step, by step, by step….

The secret to experience this kind of embodied presence is truly noticing your physical sensations. Good, bad, indifferent. Body awareness is powerful. Pain, ease, comfort – What are you feeling, and where do you hold it in your body? Where do you need to let go of physical tension? Moving meditation will help you clue into physical sensation. That may be, your hip flexors and thigh bones initiating the movement of each leg. But in slower moments times, it could mean tasting the first sip of coffee in the morning – the warmness, the steam on your cheeks, the smell of the beans, the sound of the grind.

What we can take away from this idea of moving-meditation is that you don’t need to “carve out” time in your schedule, but bring more YOU to the tasks you perform, more awareness & mindfulness to our everyday actions.

Maddie Bassinder, LMT

How to prepare for a hockey game

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Growing up, I always have found it difficult to properly prepare for hockey games and practices. Do I stretch? If so, when do I stretch? Is exercise before more harmful? Did I eat too much? Maybe that last one was just me. But trying to figure out the proper way to prepare and recover from a sport seemed daunting. As my strategies altered through trial and error, I personally found ways that worked for me. With the help from literature, I critiqued my preparation and identified the most helpful ways to prepare for a hockey game.

dr nate hockey

Stretching: Dynamic Warm Up

A dynamic warm up is a series of movements or activities that are low or moderate in intensity that get the blood moving. Increased circulation will only help you prepare. This means skating laps around the rink (i.e. forwards and backwards), stick handling with the puck, cross-overs, and shooting on net are great ways to begin. Static stretching has been linked to potentially decreasing muscle performance so holding stretches for 30 seconds may not be that beneficial after all (BUT very important afterwards!). When successfully completing a dynamic warm up, you have increased muscle pliability and enhanced blood circulation via your cardiovascular system without the cost of decreasing performance.

Diet: Eat light and stay hydrated

Diet has such an important factor into performing better during sporting events. It’s essential to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day and eating at least an hour before game time. As much as eating a large sandwich in the car on the way to the game seems like a time savvy decision, it can lead to increased inflammation, decreased muscle performance, and feeling like the meal could come up at any shift! We don’t need that to happen. Diet plays a far bigger role into how we feel than most of us like to admit and will ultimately affect our exercise.

– Dr. Nate

Holiday Happiness or Holiday Blues?

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The holiday season is often a time of joy and happiness.  We spend time with those we love, attend events which promote the spirit of the season, and give thanks for the things in our lives which truly matter.  It can also be a time of increased sadness or anxiety.  We often miss those who are no longer with us more around this time of year and can get caught up in the “giving season”, even when we are burnt out.  

During this holiday season, I encourage you to be more aware of your thoughts and feelings and how you manage them.  I encourage you to engage in regular self-care and make decisions on what’s best for you and your mental health.  Attend events and spend time with those who make you happy!  Don’t be afraid to say no to events and/or people which bring you down or stress you out.  If you can’t totally avoid certain negative situations or people, then go into those events/situations with an exit plan and limit your time.  

Finding a balance in life can certainly be challenging, especially during the holiday season.  We are often pulled in many different directions which in turn can test us, both physically and mentally.   I encourage you to go for that walk, spend time with that person you’ve been meaning to call, take a break from work, etc.  You won’t regret it!  If your struggling with an issue, situation, or relationship I encourage you to seek out professional help.  Engaging in mental health treatment can also be a proactive endeavor vs a reactive one.  Just like you go to the gym to improve your physical health, you can engage in counseling services to improve your overall mental health at any point, not just when “things are bad.”  So, put yourself first this holiday season, as it will allow you to be more present for others.  It’s not being selfish, it’s self-care!  Find your balance.

One sure fire way to feel better and positive this holiday season is to give of yourself to others.  Volunteer, give to those less fortunate, or donate to a local charity.  I guarantee you won’t regret the time or money you spend on helping others!  I also guarantee engaging in such helping activities will have a positive impact on your mental well-being. 

Wishing you the best during this holiday season!

Dave 

mental health

“I started my professional career in the education field and transferred into social work in 2011.   I have always been drawn to “helping professions” which allow me to assist others.  My current full-time job is with the Department of Veteran Affairs where I help homeless Veteran’s on Cape Cod obtain and maintain housing.  My career path has led me to NPT HealthWorks where I hope to counsel individuals and/or couples who are looking to make a positive change in their mental health status.” 

 

The Journey to Ironman

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I recently completed my first full Ironman at Mont-Tremblant this past August. It was a 3 year journey, starting with a self-discovery trip to northern Italy where I first read Finding Ultra by Rich Roll while drinking red wine and crushing prosciutto and cheese. At the time, I was feeling a bit lost, overweight, and mentally & emotionally exhausted. Inspired by Rich Roll, upon returning to the states, I went mostly plant-based and started training a month later for my 1st triathlon. I couldn’t swim, disliked running, and had a road bike that was over 10 years old. No matter, I set the lofty goal of one day completing in an Ironman and now I’ve met that goal! 

I’ve enjoyed the journey, the growth emotionally, mentally, and physically. I’ve really enjoyed the relationships and sharing the experience with friends, family, coworkers, clients, and training partners. I hope most of all that I’ve inspired others along the way and shown that it’s never too late to set goals and continue to grow no matter how old we are or how low/lost we feel. Along the way you’ll find your best self. 

So far in 2019, I have also competed in the San Francisco Marathon, Patriot 70.3 triathlon,  Portland 10 miler, Newport 10 Miler, Newport Olympic Triathlon, and ran the NYC Marathon for charity this November. 3 years ago I couldn’t imagine doing any of these events. I think we all should set lofty goals in life and enjoy the process of working toward them. Along the way your life will change for the better whether or not you achieve your ultimate goal. You’ll be inspired while inspiring others around you.

Though we’re all on our personal health and wellness journey, it’s important to surround yourself with people who support you. At NPT HealthWorks, it’s what we’re passionate about. No matter how big or small, please use us as a reference for any questions, thoughts, comments you may have. 

– Dr. Dan

The Path to Health & Wellness

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The first half of my life I didn’t take very good care of myself. I abused, neglected and disrespected my body and mind. By the time I’d reached my early 30’s, I’d endured a series of bad relationships, had low self esteem and struggled with anxiety and depression, which plagued me since childhood. I was self medicating with drugs and drinking a bottle of wine a night. I lacked any ambition or purposeful feelings. I was numbly floating through life, wanting so much more, but not really sure what to do about it. 

My personal turning point was in 2013, at an Ashram in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies. Having reached my breaking point, I knew that what I currently was doing, was not making me a better person, and if I continued down that path, I would no-doubt kill myself, or harm someone else. I closed my eyes, and prayed for a sign to help me get out of my funk and unhealthy routines.  My heart spoke and that day I enrolled in a yoga teacher training program. I had nothing else to lose.

During my 21 day training, through mindful meditation, yoga, healthful eating and the support of my wonderful teachers and fellow students, I began chipping away at the walls I had created around my heart and my life. I sat with my fears and anxieties, my insecurities and flaws, and learned to love and nurture myself, and to forgive and let go what was not contributing to a healthy lifestyle (mentally and physically). While there, we were provided only with “real food” – delicious and nutritious meals that were easy to digest and filled with the nutrients and vitamins our bodies crave. My mood lifted and my mind cleared. I left lighter and less anxious. More importantly, I wasn’t sluggish and irritable or depressed and numb.

At the completion of my training, it was like I was seeing the world through new eyes. Of all the lessons that journey taught me, the most powerful is that happiness is a verb. With every mindful thought, every nutritious bite, and through every positive action we take, we can secure that state of being for life.

Committing to this new way of life has brought me clarity and energy. Inspired by my experience at Shoshoni Yoga Retreat, I ramped up my fitness goals and became a certified Spinning instructor. Inspired by the way wholesome and nutritious foods made me feel mentally and physically, I became a chef for professional sailing teams; feeding athletes while strengthening my craft by incorporating cuisine from all over the world. I dove head first into all things health and wellness, ultimately enrolling in the Institute of Integrated Nutrition. Once I started to see and feel the amazing positive changes happening to me and around me, becoming a certified Health Coach came naturally. I want to share and bestow these healthy concepts and help those who struggle realize that a better way is within their reach. I want to help you empower you, all the ways to heal yourself, mind and body, and leave behind the fatigue and stress that tries to hold us down. I have been there and understand how stressful and overwhelming it can be and how bad habits feel impossible to break. But if I can do it, you can too, and I am here to show you the way.